Monday, January 16, 2006

What Year Is It?

The most authoritative discussion I have found of “what year is it on the Chinese calendar” is from The Mathematics of the Chinese Calendar by Helmer ASLAKSEN, Department of Mathematics at the University of Singapore. It seems that most overseas Chinese and the Chinatown of San Francisco will be calling the Year of the Dog starting in 2006, 4704.

My summary: The Chinese started the year count with each emperor and did not use a continuous count for the years. There are several possibilities for what year it is. However, the one year issue – and why you may see 4703 and 4704 both as dates for the Year of the Dog starting on January 29th, 2006 – could be due to at least two different reasons. It could be due to starting with zero instead of year 1 for an epoch, or the difference may come from those who believe that the (mythical) Yellow Emperor started his reign with the Winter Solstice. (So less than a month later, the 2nd year of his reign would have started at the Chinese New Year.)

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